Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's minister of finance, has asked the West to withhold its judgment on a recently approved anti-gay law.

In January it was announced that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan had signed a law that prohibits the state from recognizing the relationships of gay couples, mandates a 14-year prison sentence for anyone who enter a same-sex marriage or civil union, prohibits the public promotion of gay rights and outlaws gay clubs and organizations.

Appearing on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, host Fareed Zakaria asked Okonjo-Iweala about the law.

“This seems an assault on a minority's rights,” Zakaria said. “It also seems an assault on free speech. Why is Nigeria doing this?”

In the United States “it took 40 to 50 years or more on the conversation of, you know, gay community to get where the U.S. is,” Okonjo-Iweala responded.

“I think we need a conversation in the country. We need revolution. Ninety-six percent of people, you know, support these laws. But I think we need to unpack the laws for them to see between being a gay person and same-sex marriage, because the two are confounded in people's minds. And there's a strong sentiment against same-sex marriage, just as you had here before, and it's still evolving.”

“I think it's a question of conversation, discussion, evolution, education and engagement over time. Just as happened in this country and in Europe. It's not something that happened overnight.”

“So, I would say withhold judgment. And, you know, let us work on this,” she added.